This post is my third and final post dealing with the subject of publishing your book independently. Today's discussion will deal with the actual process of bringing your book to life.
If you'd like to read Part I - an introduction - click here.
If you'd like to read Part II - choosing a printing service - click here.
1- Allow plenty of time! Once you choose an approximate release date you'd like for your book make sure to allow enough time to complete all the steps necessary to bring your book to publication. A good rule of thumb is to allow 3-6+ months. (I began working with my book formatter in January for my upcoming book, Journey to Snowdonia. It's set to be released in September of this year.)
2- Obtain a Book Formatter/Interior Designer - I strongly recommend that you choose someone that you can actually meet, since you'll want to work with her - side by side - when it's time to bring your book to life. Make sure you see several samples of her work.
If you've written a picture book or illustrated short story you'll need a formatter who is skilled with the Adobe InDesign program.
3- Final Check List - Before you ever meet with your interior designer/book formatter, make sure you've done the following:
**Read your entire book out loud...again!
**Use text to voice conversion to listen to your entire book.
**Complete final edit.
4- Obtain Cover Designer - Again, make sure you see several samples of her work. Once you've obtained this professional, work with her for your cover design. Plan ahead: This could take months!
5- Complete a flap copy description and back cover blurb - (or other text). Your cover designer will need those as soon as possible.
6- Purchase a barcode and ISBN number(s). Bowker is a great place to purchase both - click here to visit their website. Your cover designer will need the barcode, your book formatter the ISBN #'s.
7- Choose your preferred fonts for the chapter headings, cover, and possibly, the text of your book.
8- Contact your chosen printing company. (See last Friday's post.) Make sure to contact the company several months prior to your release date. I won't quote timelines for CreateSpace, Ingram Sparks, or Bang Printing, but suffice it to say, printing and shipping take quite a bit of time. (You'll want to allow time in case your proof isn't correct!)
INTERIOR BOOK FORMATTING:
Prior to meeting with your book formatter, make sure you're familiar with market standards when it comes to publishing. For instance, if your book is a YA novel, make sure its style and format, look very similar to other YA novels. Check such items as: cover design, title page, copyright page, table of contents, chapter headings, and fonts.
Once you've contacted your source for printing; obtained a cover designer, purchased barcodes and ISBN #'s, and completed all steps under "preparation," it's time to sit down with your book formatter.
Yes! I do mean "sit down" with her. Your book is too important not to be there while the formatter makes choices for your book. I can't begin to tell you how many details have been altered on my books as I've sat next to my book formatter. It took both of us to bring my books to life.
When your book is published it should look - and read - like books from big publishing houses. You shouldn't place your name on a book that is anything less. The book will remain long after you're gone.
SEND TO PRINT
Once your book formatter has completed her work, it's time to order a proof. If you receive the proof and it needs changes, make the changes before you send to print. Once you have a great proof in hand, you and your book formatter - and possibly your cover designer - are ready to send in all your material to the printer. (Some cover designs are embedded by book formatters, while some are sent in separately by the cover designer.) Remember: CreateSpace, Ingram Sparks, and Bang Printing all have different requirements as to costs, timetables, formats, etc. It's important to work closely with your printer.
You'll need to decide what formats you'd like your e-book published in: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBooks; Barnes & Noble Nook; & Smashwords. If you're not familiar with those sites, click here. Most book formatters can also do the formatting for your e-book. If not, the three printing companies I mentioned under PREPARATION - #8 - can assist you.
Addition: Click here for an excellent article on publishing an ebook by the renowned speaker, professor, and literary guru, Jane Friedman.
NOTE: This three-part blog post (2/24, 3/3,3/10) is an overview of the material I've personally learned by independently publishing my own books. It is not meant as an exhaustive resource for self-publishing.
All the best as you tread your path to publication!
I'll be sharing a series of blog posts in a few weeks that will deal with "Marketing Your Book." That timing is great for me too, since my next children's book, Journey to Snowdonia, releases in September.
Look for the cover reveal of our "Wintertime Tale" next week!